China, is arguably, a fabulous tourist destination. The vastness of the region, the myriad Oriental culture, and different societal set-up can ruffle even the most seasoned travellers on their first visit here.
When one embarks on a journey to China, it is often advised to be prepared for the unexpected and be ready to be shocked. Travel to China with an open mind and be ready for an experience of a lifetime.
Here are a few China travel tips before your departure.
1. Travel documents and papers:
Have all your travel documents in order. The Chinese don’t offer visas on arrival. Hence, apply for a tourist visa from the Chinese consulate in your country, either by post, or in person. The norm is to plan your trip well in advance and provide a complete schedule of your proposed visit, flight departure back home and confirmed hotel reservations to the authorities, to procure a visa.
2. Booking your hotels or places to stay ahead of your journey:
Confirm hotel reservations, but don’t go in for hotels which require a full payment. Look for cancellation charges to have some flexibility, if you are not happy with the accommodations and wish to shift elsewhere. Take the hotel’s business card or a picture of it to get back to your accommodation.
3. Get Travel Insurance: It is best to travel to an unknown destination equipped with insurance. It is better to insure your valuable items for the journey such as cameras and laptops.
It is best to travel to an unknown destination equipped with insurance. It is better to insure your valuable items for the journey such as cameras and laptops.
4. Cash over cards:
Though the modernisation wave has made it possible for upscale shopping complexes, restaurants and hotels to accept some international credit cards, the use of cash is essential for local commuting, shopping and sight-seeing. The Chinese RMB is recognized everywhere in China and so it helps to exchange currency at ATMs which provide a decent exchange rate than Travelex.
5. Bargain and haggle for the best deals:
All places except upscale shopping centres allow bargaining, and haggling is not considered rude. So, go ahead and bargain shrewdly to get good deals on your shopping expeditions.
6. Public transport in China:
China has good connectivity because of a good network of buses and trains that can transport you across places in good time. The connectivity has only improved for the better with the introduction of the high-speed G-trains. Public transport is affordable and good. But, expect delays and the traffic can be chaotic and unnerving to the Western traveller. Also, ensure that you have your passport ready when you make a booking. One ticket for one passport is the norm.
7. Taxis in China:
Taxis are a little more expensive than the public transport and are plentiful in number. Most drivers do not speak English, so it helps to write down the destination address in Chinese script by your hotel staff. Avoid self-driving in China if you are not used to driving in chaos. Doubly ensure that the taxi you are taking has meters, thus, ensuring a standard and nominal fare for your trip.
8. Use a local SIM card in China:
When travelling in China it is better to use a local SIM card as it is much cheaper than the international roaming rates. Local SIM cards can be procured at airports or corner stores and the data plans are adequate.
9. Purchase a VPN for China:
China’s great Firewall blocks several google selections. So, to access these in China procure a VPN open for China
10. Have a good language translation app ready:
When in China, language can be a big hurdle. To overcome this, be prepared with an app or a translation dictionary to translate your simple queries in Chinese.
I’m Sam & I love travelling. Every journey I undertake, is a journey towards discovering myself. And I blog at www.soarlegs.com because I wish to collect these moments and narrate a story to the world. Every time I travel, it seems to me that the story is different.
Travelling has broadened my horizons. I’ve acquired a whole different world view, and I’m not interested in artifice, I prefer to see things as they are.
Travelling to new places and meeting new people has always been a fascinating activity for me. With every experience, I see an opportunity to learn and value the simple joys of life. I blog about my travel expeditions, because I love to share my experiences and if I have appealed to the explorer in my readers that’s more than I could ask for.
My blog is my travel diary, a record of the places and experiences I wish that my readers would enjoy and keep in mind the tips before they go on an exciting journey of their own.